MONTEVIDEO - Diego Maradona hit out at
critics of his coaching after his Argentina team qualified for
the World Cup on Wednesday and said he had issues to discuss
with his boss.
"For those who didn't believe in this national team, for
those who treated me like garbage (I say) today we are in the
World Cup with all the honours, beating a team like Uruguay,"
Argentina secured their berth at the 2010 finals in South
Africa with a 1-0 away win over arch-rivals Uruguay at the
Centenario, scene of the first World Cup final in 1930.
"I am black or white, I'll never be grey in my life,"
Maradona, who in Argentine eyes could no wrong as a player,
told reporters as he criticised the media for inventing stories
about differences within the national team staff.
Maradona has been under fire for most of the qualifying
matches since he took charge a year ago, for inconsistencies in
selection and tactical errors that left Argentina on the brink
of failing to qualify.
He lost four matches and won four, including the last two
against Peru and Uruguay that left Argentina in the last of
South America's four automatic qualifying berths behind Brazil,
Paraguay and Chile.
Fifth-placed Uruguay play off next month against Costa
Rica, of the CONCACAF region, for another place.
A week ago, Maradona gave the impression there were
divisions in the national team staff, suggesting to reporters
in Buenos Aires that preparations to face Peru on Saturday had
not run smoothly. He said he would only stay on for the finals
on his terms, but a few days later accused the media of
inventing his possible resignation.
On Wednesday, he allowed a similar doubt to fill the air
when, in answer to a question about whether he would be in
charge of Argentina in South Africa, Maradona would only say:
"I need to talk to (Argentine Football Association president
He reserved his praise for his players and the small group
of fans, less than 2,000, who crossed the River Plate from
Buenos Aires to support the team in a stadium packed with close
to 60,000 Uruguayans baying for Argentine blood.
"I want to thank the whole squad for having given me the
privilege of taking Argentina to the World Cup and the
people... who crossed the pond."
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